At work this morning I got to thinking about routines. As parents we are told of the importance of routines for young children, for children and adults with autistic spectrum disorders routines are really important, but I was thinking about how we might be inadvertently supporting negative behaviours through accepting what is happening as ‘his normal routine’ and allowing things to happen over and over even though we are aware they are not necessarily right. For instance the child I work with is very impulsive, to support him to be less impulsive I use a lot of strategies and these then become routines, but inadvertently I have helped the child develop other negative behaviours. During his morning at school he plays with construction toys, then books during registration (he used to hit and kick other children during this time so this is the agreed alternative) then he sits at his desk to do his phonics work (it really fine motor development and word recognition as phonics is the wrong focus for him). All of the children in the class are doing the same thing, developmentally appropriate in small groups. This part of his routine works well, but, when he finishes off his work he needs to show the teacher and his impulsivity takes over and he barges his way through the pther children shouting for the teacher, we both know this is unacceptable but as it has happened from the start (when we thought he was so pleased with his work and needed to show it) it has now become part of the routine. We now have the problem of trying to break the routine or accept it. The other difficulty I have with his routines are how to extend them. Due to the repetitive nature of teaching him, it is really easy for his to identify how much is enough so learning to count to 5 has become easy and he know it, can identify the numbers, count items etc. but now we need to extend his learning to count to 10, his routine is to do an activity showing he can count to five so the difficulty is to count on from five but this is not his routine, so refusal to work is usually the result, we have tried to count from six, but this is a difficult concept for most children his age, and he still needs the repetitive nature of teaching to 5 so he doesn’t forget.
Any way I’m fairly sure we will find an answer, but wondered if any one else found that using routines can be inhibitors as well as progressors.
Thanks for reading